Monday, 5 October 2009

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

I've been meaning to watch this film for a while, but never seemed to get round to it. It's set during the Second World War and is seen through the eyes of eight year of Bruno. He is the son of a commandant at a concentration camp but doesn't understand what is happening in the world. After moving to a new house near a concentration camp and thinking himself an explorer, Bruno becomes determined to discover what this camp is and why it's there. He soon meets a boy named Shmuel (i.e. the boy in striped pyjamas). He lives across the fence in the camp and begins to help Bruno understand what's really happening, but not even he knows the whole truth.

One thing that really surprised me was when Bruno's mother (i.e. the commandant's wife) didn't know about the gas chambers. Presumably this means that not many did. They showed a video full of propaganda about how the concentration camps were a fun place, where the Jews could play games and socialise. I suppose many believed this as they had no reason not to. But the smoke and smell from the chambers could not be covered up and Bruno's mother found out the truth.

I felt naive when watching this film and stupid for not knowing what was really happening during ww2. I knew about the gas chambers, but I never understood why everyone just let it happen...obviously because they didn't know. Bruno's innocent mind and willingness to make friends has serious consequences, with the film ending in a shocking, unexpected and ironic way. It was a thought provoking film and I found it really interesting, but also quite sad as you know that it's real, (not this story specifically) but the way people were treated.

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